Edited by Barney R. All mistakes are on me.
I heard the talk through the screen at our favorite Chinese restaurant.
I had stopped at our favorite Chinese restaurant one Thursday when I got off work early for a late lunch. I was also going to get something to take home as a peace offering for dinner. Why I needed the peace offering was beyond me, but the atmosphere at home was slightly colder than the Arctic Circle. As I walked past a booth near the buffet area I heard a couple of familiar voices from behind one of the booth screens that seem to be a standard décor feature in Chinese restaurants in this area. The voices belonged to my wife and her twin sister (Who never has liked me).
My name is Chuck Tomas, I am 34, an architect, and in the middle of a big mess. And now I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am married (for the time being), no kids, I’m sterile from the mumps.
The day my world was destroyed, had started out normal, like most days for the last seven or eight months, I was frustrated, angry, and confused. My wife was on her high horse about some little imagined slight or shortcoming of mine. The latest argument had started about a week before when I insisted that we were going to go to one of my company functions and not to one of her company’s scheduled for the same evening.
I went to work and was immediately informed that my current client wanted some revisions to the building that I was overseeing. I called and after talking to him I explained that the changes he desired would hold his project up for at least ninety days and require a new zoning variance that could delay it even more. Then when I got him understanding that; he asked me to go ahead and do the preliminary work on it. I told him that the changes would increase the cost of the project by at least 15 million dollars. He suddenly lost interest in the changes. Two hours had been wasted and we were back at the same point.
Then when I got to the site, I was met by a union official who had his hand out or there would be a strike. While he was standing there, I picked up my cell phone and told him I was calling the general contractor. When he got to the phone I loudly told him to tell his union stewards that this project was to be stopped at noon and would not start up again until I had assurances in writing that I would not be blackmailed by any union official and that I was going from this job site to the prosecuting attorney’s office and swear out a complaint against the union for RICO violations. The union official stammered out an apology and said he would make sure word was passed on to the hiring hall and the local’s office that all parts of the contract were being fulfilled. As he left, the Dial-A-Prayer tape ended.
Then after I got back to the office my boss, Carl Weatherman, saw how stressed I was and wanted a rundown of the problem. When I told him, he said yes we could make the changes, but I was right in the time delay and cost estimate. He laughed when I told him about the union official and my phone call.
He told me to go home, and as it was only about 90 minutes after my normal lunch, I thought I would go to the restaurant and have a late lunch. Well, the voices I heard would not have made an impression except that my wife has a very unflattering laugh, and it is hard to mistake her joyful braying as someone else. Her sister’s laugh was less nasal, but also irritating. They both seemed to be in a good mood.
She was supposed to be at work, and I wondered what she was doing here. As I wanted something off of the menu, and not from the buffet, I sat in the booth next to where the laughter and talking were coming from. I sat with my back to their booth and hoped that they would not know I was there. I planned to pop up and surprise them after a couple of minutes. I was the one surprised.
My wife, Janelle (Jan) stopped laughing and her sister, Jasmine, asked; “Do you really plan to let both Frank and Joe fuck you tomorrow morning?”
I was just about hyperventilating when my wife responded, “Yes I will be DP’d, and then Ralph said he was going to join us and make me ‘airtight’. He has the shortest, but thickest cock, so he gets my mouth, it was incredible the last time I was done that way.”
Jasmine then asked; “What about your asshole husband? Won’t he get suspicious? Are you going to let him have sex tonight.?”
Jan responded; “Nope the needle dick idiot has been cut off for nearly six months, my sex belongs in the office. I have been acting pissed off at him so he doesn’t even dare ask for sex. Where do you think all of that money I had you deposit for me in your bank came from, Chuck doesn’t know that I was promoted and that after mornings like I will have I get will get another of those bonuses. Besides needle dick only wants and gives me gently, loving sex. I like it on the rough side more.”
Well, to say my bad day just got worse is obvious. I put a ten-dollar bill on the table, canceled my lunch, got up and turned around and said “surprise” to my wife and told her she need not come home anymore. I started for the door.
There were screams behind me and a loud cry of “Chuck, please wait.” I kept walking. By the time I was in my car both of them were coming out of the restaurant and running for me. I got in my car and left.
I met Janelle Peters while I was a senior in college. She was a new freshman pledge at my fraternity’s sister sorority. We were having a get acquainted mixer after pledge invitations had been issued. As a legacy, Janelle was assigned to me because I was Sergeant-At-Arms and in charge of our pledges. She was to assist me in introductions to the new pledges and any transfer from other colleges.
As the night wore on and the party got wilder, I saw that Janelle was being ‘bums rushed’ and molested by our fraternity’s resident ‘Romeo’. I could see that she was not comfortable with this jerk’s hand placements. I went over and asked her to dance and she accepted.
As we danced, she thanked me for getting away from the asshole. She told me she had told him to go away, but because she was just a pledge, she did not wish to make a big scene. I told her she needed to tell her president what had happened. I also gave her my cell number and told her to call me if she needed any more help.
I thanked her for the dance, and afterward, I gathered my pledges up and informed our president that I wanted a disciplinary meeting when we got back to the house. He got our entire group (including ‘Romeo’) together we all left.
The meeting was called, and I told the pledges to stay but not to participate. I explained that there had been a severe breach of our rules, as well as some actions unbecoming a member. I explained that a complaint was made about one of our full members not taking no for an answer and causing a pledge from our sister group a great deal of distress. I had not as yet mentioned any names.
‘Romeo’ shouted; “She is just a prick tease, what am I supposed to do, just assume she doesn’t want the attention?”
“I never mentioned your name, but it was you, asshole.” I answered him; “You were a guest in their house, and even if you weren’t a guest, where you were putting your hands after you were asked to stop is a violation of our rules, the rules of this college, and of society as a whole.” I continued; “What I saw, if I was to testify in court, would be classed as sexual assault. I am asking this committee to issue a disciplinary house arrest for you for two weeks and probation for the remainder of the school year.”
When it came up to a vote, I lost. I had thought I would, but even the president voted no. I went into my room and typed up my resignation and a formal complaint letter to the national headquarters with a copy to the fraternity, sorority, and the ‘Greek’ Council. I gathered all of my stuff, left my resignation and copy of the national letter in the president’s mail slot. I loaded up my car, mailed the national’s, sorority’s, and ‘Greek’ letters and drove over to the sorority and asked to talk the president.
I apologized for my lack of controlling of my fellows. I told her because my brothers were not going to fix a continuing problem that I had resigned I asked that she not take any action against her new pledge as she was the victim, not the cause.
She thanked me and said that several of the sisters were making sure that she was ok, and that if the pledge asked, they would file a formal complaint with the ‘Greek’ Council. I gave her my contact information and told her if she needed, I would tell the council what I saw. I did not tell her of my notification to the Greeks.
I left and drove across town to my mother’s house and without unloading my car, crawled into the guest bedroom (what used to be my bedroom) and went to sleep.
When I woke the next morning, my cell phone was ringing and bouncing all over the dresser. I had several voice mail messages from the frat house and the sorority to call them. I also had a call from Janelle asking me to call.
I called Janelle back, and she thanked me again and said that their house had received a formal apology from the frat and that my actions had caused a serious firestorm in her house. Some of her sisters were blaming her for causing the party to be cut short. I asked her if she felt she wanted to belong to a group that did not protect their own.
When she said she would think about it, I said: “Think hard because if your house does not take the problem to the ‘Greeks’, then they do not have your back.” I added; “Think about what your dues are going for if you can’t count on your sisters.”
She sort of sighed and said, “The only reason I pledged was that I was a ‘legacy’ and my mother put a lot of pressure on me to join.” She thanked me again and hung up.
I ignored the rest of the calls until I could get my coffee and brunch. My mother let out a small screech when I bumped into her as I left the guest room to go to the kitchen. She cried; “Why are you here? Didn’t you have a party last night? What is wrong?”
I said; “Calm down my dear sweet mother; there were a couple of big problems that caused me to resign from the fraternity. I saw one of the boys molesting a new sorority pledge, and when I ended his activities, the frat would not do anything about it or to support me. So, I packed up and came here. You were asleep so I sacked out in the guest room. I’m sorry if I startled you.”
I continued; “I may need to stay until at least semester break, rentals are scarce right now, I would imagine. I don’t want to go back to the dorms, and I am not going back to the frat. That is if it is all right with you, of course. I would like to fix up the apartment over the garage if you will let me stay. That way your male friends can come over without the nosy son getting in the way.” I laughed after that. “I can even kick in a few bucks rent to help with the minuscule amount of food you always feed me.”
“Of course, you big dope, this is your house too. I’ll just have to tell all of my male friends that we need to meet somewhere else.” She started giggling and grabbed me in a big hug.
I knew there were no male friends as she had not gotten over my dad’s passing. She always made more food than five people could eat, but the leftovers were great.
Mom went to the kitchen with me and when she saw that I had brought my special coffee, hugged me again and proceeded to make us a pot. I asked if she had had breakfast yet and getting a negative, I made two large western omelets with my special seasonings and raw spinach. We ate and caught up on things.
After we ended our gabfest, and I cleaned up the kitchen, I started returning the calls to the Sorority first. I got some airhead on the first call and she started cussing me out for wrecking the party. As soon as I asked her if she wanted ‘Romeo’ to do the things to her that he was doing to her sorority sister, pledge or not, then I would call him for her. She hung up.
I called Janelle again and asked her to contact the sorority president and have her call me. I also asked if she had given any more thought to my questions about her sisters and their support.
She said, “I showed them the bruises that ‘Romeo’ had inflicted and they shut up. I will talk to the president as soon as I get off the phone.” We left it at that.
The sorority president called about 10 minutes later and said that there was going to be a meeting that evening and she wanted me there. I said I would be. Then when I told her about the verbal browbeating I got when I called their house number she apologized and said she would solve that problem real quick. Again, as we had solved that problem, we rang off.
I unloaded my car, got things squared away, and prepared for the meeting at the sorority.
When I settled in I called the fraternity, I called the president’s personal phone because I did not want the same ration of shit that I had gotten from the ladies. When he answered, he wanted to know why my room was cleaned out. I told him to check his mailbox, and if that did not answer his questions, then I did not know what would. He informed me that after the meeting ‘Romeo’ raised all kinds of hell and he was formally censured. When I said to him that that was not good enough and that I was no longer a frat member, I told him that I had not just lost a vote last night, but I lost faith in a ‘Greek’ system that was supposed to take care of our internal discipline problems. I told him goodbye and went and made dinner for my mother and me.
The meeting at the sorority house started out with the president laying into some of her sisters for their treatment of the pledge who was the victim in the incident the previous evening. Then she introduced me as the person who went to her aid, not one of the sisters. Then she asked me to say a few words to them.